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The Ladykillers

The Coen Brothers are back!

Just when you thought the quirky and brilliant directing team of the Coen brothers had gone all Hollywood and lost their 'edge', they get back into the game. The dark comedy, The Ladykillers (a remake of the 1955 original), is short, sweet and deliciously witty.

Usually when I spot the name Tom Hanks, I roll my eyes and think of either Splash or Forrest Gump; basically, the quintessential good guy (read: dull). But here Mr. Hanks, as Professor G.H. Dorr, has transformed himself into a veritable villain of the lovable sort. His Mississippi via Harvard drawl is pitch perfect and in line with the Coen Brothers' penchant for highlighting local dialects and mannerisms a la Fargo. Dorr is a smarmy Edgar Allan Poe enthusiast who hatches a diabolic plan to steal piles of cash from a gambling boat. This plan requires the use of one deeply religious old lady's root cellar and a gang of bumbling accomplices.

The aforementioned lady is played by Irma P. Hall, a scene-stealer who grabs your attention the minute she presents herself on screen. She heads an ensemble cast that, with the exception of Marlon Wayans, whose performs begins to grate on the nerves way before the end of the film, bring true life to their idiosyncratic characters. The camera sets up shots so tightly, they look like photographs and the dialogue is nothing less than brilliant, if not a little wacky. Along with the direction and Ms. Hall, the music is the other highlight of this film. The church scenes are heaven sent; the passionate choir raises the concept of devotion to the highest level. Indeed, the music is so righteous, it could single-handedly launch a gospel music revival. I, for one, would gladly sing in praise